NSC eyeing Tiktok ban among national security employees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — The National Security Council (NSC) is considering a ban on Tiktok, the short-form video sharing platform run by China-based ByteDance, for government employees involved in national security to avoid data leak.

"We know for a fact that there are information operations and psychological warfare and other stuff being done," NSC Assistant Director Jonathan Malaya said Saturday. "So siguro [maybe] if there is a need for banning it would not be for public school teachers, it would not be for those in the civilian, it would be for the security sector,"

"I'm talking about the Armed Forces [of the Philippines], the uniformed personnel, and in particular, the intelligence entities of the government, the National Security Council," he added.

Malaya clarified that the move would not cover the "civilian agencies of government which are not part of the security sector."

He said the matter would be discussed with National Security Adviser Eduardo Año.

"I can raise this with the National Security Adviser if it would be proper for us to do so kasi alam mo naman dito sa Pilipinas, sasabihin na naman 'yan [because you know that here in the Philippines, it will be called] a curtailment of the freedom of expression, curtailment of freedom of speech," he explained.

A recent study by the Reuters Institute found that Tiktok was gaining more popularity as a news source in the Philippines.

This comes amid heightened tensions between Manila and Beijing, as the latter continues to lead incursions into the West Philippine Sea and harass Filipino civilian and government vessels.

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Meanwhile, numerous governments and countries around the world have already banned Tiktok on government-issued devices over cybersecurity concerns.

The European Union in March banned the app from staff devices across all three of its main institutions.

The United States and Canada have likewise restricted Tiktok on government-issued devices.

India completely banned Tiktok and other similar applications throughout the country in 2020.